The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the forty sixth in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts--.". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
John Getz
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John Getz was born and raised in the Mississippi River Valley of Northern Illinois and Iowa. His mother, who'd abandoned aspirations toward an acting career to raise four children, and his father, who thought Cole Porter was right about most things, imparted their love for music and theater. Getz's intention was to write and teach but a long stretch of college, with a Shakespeare teacher who was passionate on the subject and a theatre teacher whose pleasure in his work was palpable, waylaid him. And after doing a number of plays at the University of Iowa he was encouraged to try the Profession.

He made his way to San Francisco, spent a summer in the training program and the subsequent season with the American Conservatory Theater, joined Actor's Equity, and a year later helped found the Napa Valley Theater Company in Yountville, Califonia. After a couple of successful seasons there he headed for New York.

A friend from Napa was directing a children's theater production in New York (with Murray Abraham and Bob Gunton) and gave him immediate employment. While doing that he found a job in a play at LaMaMa (with Danny DeVito and Peter Riegert). That led to a production of Macbeth with the New York Shakespeare festival at Lincoln Center and then the workshop and first production of the musical, The Robber Bridegroom. At the same time be found his first television work as a regular on the soap opera, Another World. All this in about nine months! "It was an exciting time in Manhattan", he told us..

For the next fourteen years, Getz lived and worked in New York, with occasional forays to LA for television and films. He worked on and off Broadway, in Central Park, in regional theaters and writing workshops, played the lead in a couple of television series, and in the movies The Fly and Blood Simple, among others.

In 1987 he married and moved to Los Angeles, with a long stretch back in New York to do M Butterfly on Broadway. In the years since he's been doing film and television in Los Angeles (and Nova Scotia and New Zealand and where there are jobs) and theater in LA and regional theatres, John says: "My passion and pleasure in the work have not dimished".

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John Getz's advice to the aspiring actor:

"The world is experience, language, and stories. Collect them all, however you can. There are many ways to create and to be useful. If you want to be an actor, so be it, almost any road can take you there, and everything is grist for the mill. But get up on a stage. Study, learn rehearse, enjoy it. My father once said after seeing me in an original musical in which I played a dozen characters, one of whom was a falsetto'd madam in a red dress, high heels, and a blond wig (I had a mustache at the time), Now I understand why you do this... you make people happy. "

John Getz's Credits (partial)
  • A Day Without A Mexican (2003) - playing Senator Abercrombie
  • Hunger Point (2003) (TV Movie) - playing David Hunter
  • Zenon: The Zequel (2001) (TV Movie) - playing General Hammond
  • Held for Ransom (2000 - playing Mr. Kirtland
  • Maggie (1998) (TV Series - playing Dr. Arthur 'Art' Day
  • Some Girl (1998) - playing Claire's Father
  • Mojave Moon (1996) - playing Police Officer
  • Painted Hero (1996) - playing Sheriff Acuff
  • A Friend's Betrayal (1996) (TV Movie) - playing Dennis Hewitt
  • The Late Shift (1996) (TV Movie) - playing Brandon Tartikoff
  • Awake to Danger (1995) (TV Movie) - playing Steve Murdock
  • A Passion to Kill (1994 - playing Jerry
  • Untamed Love (1994) (TV Movie) - playing Dan
  • Playmaker (1994) - playing Eddie
  • Betrayal of Trust (1994) (TV Movie) - playing Curt
  • Fortunes of War (1993) - playing Franklin Hewitt
  • Triumph Over Disaster: The Hurricane Andrew Story (1993) (TV Movie) - playing Doug Hulin
  • Majority Rule (1992) (TV Movie) - playing Paul
  • In My Daughter's Name (1992) (TV Movie) - playing Michael Elias
  • Curly Sue (1991) - playing Walker McCormick
  • Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991) - playing Gus
  • Men at Work (1990) - playing Maxwell Potterdam III
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989) - playing Vietnam Marine Major
  • The Fly II (1989) - playing Stathis Borans
  • Police Story: Burnout (1988) (TV Movie) - playing Sgt. Jack Leland
  • Mariah (1987) (TV Series - playing Ned Sheffield
  • The Fly (1986) - playing Stathis Borans
  • I Want to Go Home (1985) (TV Movie) - playing Thomas Sanders
  • MacGruder and Loud (1985) (TV Series - playing Detective Malcolm MacGruder
  • Thief of Hearts (1984) - playing Ray Davis
  • Blood Simple (1984) - playing Ray
  • Concrete Beat (1984) (TV Movie)
  • Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs (1984) (TV Series) - playing Geoff Bennett
  • Not in Front of the Children (1982) (TV Movie) - playing Dr. Paul Adams
  • Muggable Mary, Street Cop (1982) (TV Movie) - playing Dan Waters
  • Tattoo (1981) - playing Buddy
  • Rivkin: Bounty Hunter (1981) (TV Movie)
  • Kent State (1981) (TV Movie) - playing Ted
  • A Woman Called Moses (1978) (TV Movie) - playing Stewart
  • Loose Change (1978) TV Miniseries- playing John Campbell
  • Rafferty (1977) (TV Series) - playing Daniel Gentry
  • Another World (1964) (TV Series) - playing Neil Johnson (1974-1975)
  • Killer Bees (1974) (TV Movie) - playing Attendant

  • According to Jim (2001) - playing Frank
  • C.S.I.: Miami (2002) - playing George Risher
  • The Guardian
  • C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) - playing Richard Zeigler
  • Providence (1999) - playing Dr. Sullivan
  • JAG (1995) - playing Admiral Spencer
  • Ned and Stacey (1995) - playing Les McDowell
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1996) - playing Karl Hansen
  • Murder, She Wrote (1984) - playing Klye Kimball
  • The Five Mrs. Buchanans (1994) - playing Roy Buchanan
  • Murphy Brown (1988) - playing Bob
  • Three's Company (1977) - playing Lee Tripper
  • The Associates (1979) - playing William Simmons
  • Barnaby Jones (1973) - playing Walter Alberts
  • Ryan's Hope (1975) - playing Jim Callet
  • Barney Miller (1975)
  • Wonder Woman (1976) - playing Christian Harrison

  • American Conservatory Theater '70-'71
  • Napa Valley Theater Company '71-'73
  • Call Me Charlie - La Mama
  • Macbeth - New York Shakespeare Festival
  • The Robber Bridegroom - Music Theater Lab St. Clement's
  • Holiday - Hartford Stage
  • Design for Living - Arena Stage
  • One Tiger To A Hill - Manhattan Theater Club
  • They're Playing Our Song - Broadway
  • Cruise Control - WPA
  • Prairie Avenue - South Street Theater and Lenox Arts Center
  • The Dining Room - Astor Place
  • Benito Cereno - American Place Theater
  • Sea Marks - Player's Theater
  • Measure for Measure - NY Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theater
  • Night of The Iguana - The Hartman
  • M. Butterfly - Broadway
  • The Old Boy - The Globe, San Diego
  • Miracles - The Globe, San Diego
  • Woman In Mind - Tiffany Theater
  • Money And Friends - Ahmanson at The Dolittle
  • The Seagull - The Globe, San Diego
  • Tartuffe - La Jolla Playhouse

  • For more info and credits see IMDb

    -- End ---

    Archives John Wayne [April 2003]
    John Wayne
    April 2003
    Len Lesser [March 2003]
    Len Lesser
    March 2003
    Anne Gee Byrd [Febuary 2003]
    Anne Gee Byrd
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    Paul Jenkins [January 2003]
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    January 2003

    Bo Hopkins
    December 2002

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    Mario Roccuzzo
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    Michael Monks
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    Octobber 2001

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    June 2001

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    May 2001

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    April 2001

    William Daniels
    March 2001

    Dick Whittinghill
    February 2001

    Chris Ellis
    January 2001

    James Whitmore Jr.
    December 2000

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    November 2000

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    October 2000

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    September 2000

    Jay Acovone
    August 2000

    Richard Riehle
    July 2000

    Charlie Brill
    June 2000

    Edie McClurg
    May 2000

    Miguel Sandoval
    April 2000

    Tom Bower
    March 2000

    Amy Aquino
    February 2000
    Danny Chambers [January 2000]
    Danny Chambers
    January 2000

    Eve Gordon
    December 1999
    Barbara Niven [November 1999]
    Barbara Niven
    November 1999
    Bill Lucking [October 1999]
    Bill Lucking
    October 1999
    Richard Roundtree [September 1999]
    Richard Roundtree
    September 1999
    Pat Harrington [August 1999]
    Pat Harrington
    August 1999
    Robert Donner [July 1999]
    Robert Donner
    July 1999
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